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Iranian president gives fiery press interview

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15 Aug 2011 (All day)
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Iranian president gives fiery press interview

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave an interview to the English language Russia Today news program on Sunday, promising “a decisive response” to any attack on the Islamic Republic. He also denied the military nature of Iran’s renegade nuclear program, adding that his antagonism towards the Jewish State is justified because Israel “was created for the purpose of threats and aggression. It was created to secure the West's interests. If it did not terrorize-occupy-threaten, it would not exist." In related news, Russian officials on Sunday announced plans to try to restart talks between Iran and the P5+1 nuclear powers, which have been frozen for months.

British teachers study the Holocaust at Yad Vashem
A group of teachers from the UK recently arrived to Israel in order to attend a 10 day course at Yad Vashem dealing with anti-Semitism and the Holocaust. “Our aims are to teach about the people who died, but also to try to get young people to examine how and why it happened and what message they can take from it in their own lives,” said Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Education Trust. “We see students who have studied the Holocaust in a serious manner become much sensitized to issues of contemporary prejudice, whether it’s anti-Semitism, racism or general hatred toward the other.”
Chinese COS visits Israel
On Sunday, Gen Chen Bingde, chief of General Staff of China’s People’s Liberation Army, made history when he became the first Chinese military chief to visit Israel. During his stay he is expected to hold several meetings with top Israeli officials and is scheduled to visit both Yad Vashem and IDF’s urban warfare center located in the Negev. Despite the fact that Israel is forbidden by the Pentagon from selling weapons to the PLA, there is robust civilian trade and tourism between Israel and China and Jerusalem is highly interested in ameliorating its relationship with Beijing as China is seeking to increase its diplomatic, military and economic footprint in the Middle East.

Tens of thousands join periphery protests
Protests calling for “Social Justice” continued across Israel over the weekend as between 50-70,000 Israelis participated in demonstrations nationwide. Both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv were spared from the weekends demonstrations as the organizers decided to turn to other cities to show that their protests are an Israeli problem which includes the whole country. Meanwhile, in remarks to the Cabinet on Sunday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged the country and the 22 men strong committee put together to solve the crisis to show financial responsibility, “if we end up bankrupt or face economic collapse, a reality in which some of Europe’s leading economies find themselves in today, we will solve neither the economic problems nor the social ones” he warned.

Egyptian Army attempts to control Sinai
On Sunday, the Egyptian army launched an operation aimed at reasserting control over the vast Sinai Peninsula, which has become a playground for terrorist groups and criminals since the February ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak. The mission, dubbed Operation Eagle, was carried out with the knowledge of Israeli defense officials, who said that “lack of law and order in Sinai can be dangerous for the region.” In related news, Hamas and Israel have reportedly begun indirect talks in order to prepare for the prisoner exchange which eventually will lead to the release of the Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit, kidnapped in 2006. A senior Egyptian official said on Sunday that it’s too early to talk about any breakthroughs but highlighted the fact that "there is a real willingness by both sides to move forward on the deal, and Israel is ready to pay the price for freeing Schalit."

UNRWA Watch launched in Gaza
A new group called “UNRWA Watch” was launched on Monday with the stated purpose of monitoring the activities of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees. The grassroots “UNRWA Watch” is based in Gaza and reportedly consists of Palestinians who have grown weary after decades of watching billions of dollars in aid money donated to UNRWA disappear while their lives have not significantly improved. Gaza residents and Hamas officials have recently voiced outrage that UNRWA appears to be bowing to political pressure from donor countries to turn over critical services to the Palestinian Authority and refugee host countries. Hamas officials have also angrily denied statements by some UNRWA officials that it has intimidated UN staff and stolen UN supplies meant for civilians.


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